The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave law was recently signed by Gov. Phil Murphy and is set to take effect on October 29, 2018. The law will apply to all employers – including families that hire workers for their homes like nannies or private senior caregivers. New Jersey will become the tenth state to require some form of paid sick leave.
Here are nine important things household employers need to know about the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave law.
1. Accrual Rate
Employers are required to establish a “benefit year” of 12 consecutive months. During this year your employee may accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave benefits at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. You also have the option to “frontload” or offer your employee the 40 hours of paid sick time immediately on the first day of the “benefit year.” However, you are not required to permit the accrual or use of more than 40 hours in a “benefit year.”
2. Carry-Over Amount
Unused sick leave must carry over to the next year. You are not required to permit the carryover of more than 40 hours of paid sick leave benefits from one “benefit year” to the next. You may offer your employee payment for unused sick time at the end of the “benefit year.” It’s up to your employee whether to accept the payment or carry over their sick leave.
You are also not required to pay out your employee’s earned but unused sick leave upon separation from employment.
4. Leave Reasons
Paid sick leave benefits can be used for:
- Diagnosis, care, treatment of or recovery from the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or condition including preventive care
- Caring for a family member during the diagnosis, care, treatment of or recovery from a mental or physical illness, injury or condition including preventive care
- Time needed because the employee or family member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. This includes:
- Medical attention needed to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence
- Services from a designated domestic violence agency or other victim services organization;
- Psychological or other counseling
- Legal services such as obtaining a restraining order or participating in any civil or criminal proceedings related to domestic violence or sexual violence
- Time when the workplace, school or childcare is closed by order of a public official due to a public health concern.
- Attending a school-related conference, meeting or function requested or required by the school
5. Notice and Documentation
You may require advance notice of foreseeable absences and prohibit the use of “foreseeable” paid-sick-leave benefits on certain dates. If your employee is absent for at least three consecutive days, you may request documentation to confirm the employee used the sick-leave benefits for one of the purposes allowed by the law (see #4).
Once developed, there will be a notice that you must post in the workplace and provide to your employee within 30 days of the notice being drafted. New workers must be given a copy of the notice upon their hiring. Additionally, an employer must give employees a copy of the notice upon their request.
You must maintain records of hours worked and earned sick leave used by your employees. These records must be kept for a period of five years and made available for inspection by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
You are not allowed to take retaliatory or discriminatory action in connection with an employee’s request or use of earned sick leave. In fact, the law sets forth a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if an adverse action is taken against an employee within 90 days of specified protected activity. These activities include filing a complaint, cooperating in an investigation, informing others of their rights, and opposing any policy that is prohibited by law.
8. Local Laws
New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave law prohibits towns and cities from enacting sick leave ordinances on their own and preempts the previous municipal ordinances enacted by 13 local governments.
9. Paid Time Off Policy
If you already offer your employee paid time off, including but not limited to personal days, vacation days, or sick days, you will be in compliance with the new law provided the accrual rate is equal to or greater than what the law requires and your employee can use their earned sick time for the same reasons.
GTM Can Help
There is an easier way to deal with the administrative hassles – such as paid sick leave laws – of having a nanny. Let GTM manage it all for you – including paid time off – saving you time, eliminating the headaches of getting it right, and providing peace of mind. Call (800) 929-9213 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a household employment expert.